NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2021

by | Jun 13, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The Islanders and Lightning commence their third-round series today, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois addresses Nikita Kucherov’s LTIR, an update on the Canadiens, some expansion draft details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:The third round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs begins this afternoon at 3 pm ET as the New York Islanders face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa Bay.

SPORTSNET: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois defended his team’s handling of Nikita Kucherov’s recovery from hip surgery and placing his contract on long-term injury reserve for the entire season.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

We had a player who was injured, needed surgery with about a five-month expected rehabilitation time. It just so happened with this season, because of the extraordinary circumstances, the regular season was only lasting four months,” BriseBois said in a press conference Saturday. “So he was able to have surgery, miss the entire season, we were able to get some cap relief during the season, and he was able to come back a little sooner than expected.”

BriseBois also confirmed the NHL investigated the Lightning’s handling of Kucherov’s contract status and found no rules were broken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics suggest the Lightning somehow cheated the system because Kucherov returned in time for the playoffs when the salary cap isn’t applicable. However, they cannot be faulted for following the LTIR rules within the CBA, which apply to every NHL club. Cap Friendly and PuckPedia have the breakdown of LTIR frequently asked questions. 

It’s legalized cap circumvention which the league and the NHLPA are willing to live with and have done so for years. Perhaps this will be raised in the next round of negotiations in 2026.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans is making progress in his recovery from the concussion he suffered in the previous round. He’s been skating on his own and could return at some point in the upcoming series against the Vegas Golden Knights.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported the Seattle Kraken will be allowed to sign players acquired prior to the July 21 expansion draft to eight-year contracts before the opening of free agency on July 28.

The Kraken also has an exclusive three-day window from 10 am on July 18 to 10 am on July 21 to speak with and potentially sign pending free agents left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. If they sign that player before the expansion draft, it will count as their pick from that player’s former club.

The earliest the Kraken can buy out players is 2022.

July 13 is the latest date a team can ask a player to waive their no-movement clause to be exposed in the expansion draft. The deadline for the player to waive that clause is July 16.

A trade freeze will be in place from 3 pm ET on July 17 to 1 pm ET on July 22 among the 31 NHL teams. The Kraken are allowed to make trades with any club during that period.

The deadline for protection list submission is 5 pm ET on July 17. The Kraken must submit their selection list to the league by 10 am ET on July 21. That’s the same deadline for them to submit contracts of players they signed during the free-agent interview period.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes interviewed Dallas Stars assistant coach Todd Nelson and are expected to interview St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn for their vacant head-coaching position.

PUCKPEDIA: The Boston Bruins have a $2.02 million in bonus carryover overage cap hit for 2021-22.


  1. Lightning in 6 Vegas in four

    • Hi RWM

      I’m with you re Who is likely to go to SCF

      However, if Knights have ANY actual thoughts of sweeping; that’s just the overconfidence that Habs can count on and utilize to their favour (cite Leafs just a few weeks ago)

      The Lou “stifling” style (read “completely boring” ) of play should shut down Bolts for two of their home games…. so 6 games … good estimate IMHO

  2. Re Bolts, Kuch and LTIR

    Like it or not… LTIR Cap circumvention…part of the CBA… and was not an issue during negotiations for last two CBAs… so apparently both sides OK with it

    Kuch needed surgery…. there is no question on that

    League monitored it (reality of return timing)

    Had this been a regular season…. he returns in season as surgery + rehab time < season length

    It is what it is

    Would we all love to have our top player “exempt” from Cap so we could bolster elsewhere on roster ; then have that top player back for the playoffs…. absolutely

    But…. Our top player would need to be injured severely enough to require a full season of re-Hab …. and there are no guarantees pre-surgery through the entirety of re-Hab

    Would it be great for me if Gino’s (not saying he’s Pens best player… Sid is…. just using him as an example because he is Pens top Cap hit) rehab takes him to one day after regular season…. sure… not happening… but would certainly benefit

    Again…. ‘tis what it is

    Their (Bolts) other LTIRs of $7.5 M in Gaborik & Nilsson …. all teams have the power to “acquire” these “Cap assets” in trade

    Making deals that have a player coming in at less than full Cap (retained Sal)….. all teams have the right to make similar moves

    No doubt I’m peeved and jealous of what Bolts were able to do (fielding a playoff team with Sals massively in excess of Cap ceiling) but all legal…. it is what it is

  3. The only reason there’s an issue for some about Kucherov is that he has returned with success and is the playoff point leader.

    St. Louis Blues entered the playoffs at $90 million and nobody raised a question or cried foul as they were bounced in the first round.

    Its jealousy about a team that was in cap hell to start the season and had to dump anchor contracts to try and keep key young players have a GM who worked through it all and is on the road to Stanley Cup.

    Every fan would love to have Julien BriseBois as their team’s GM

    • Am I mistaken or didn’t the Blackhawks do the same thing with Patrick Kane a few years ago?

    • habfan30, you make a good point re the Blues being over the cap. That doesn’t change how much further over the cap the Bolts are, and the advantage from it, legal though it is.

      I don’t know what you mean by anchor contract but I did a quick internet search and found no Bolts roster trades at the beginning of the year. I do recall speculation about which talented player the Bolts were going to have to lose (Killorn, Johnson, etc.) and was surprised no trades came.

      Then came the news that Kucherov was on LTIR, which of course solved the Bolts regular season cap issue.

      So the Bolts were never in cap hell. They had to have know Kucherov had serious medical issues so never went ahead with trading roster players.

      And while I will refrain from comments beyond this about the Bolts and their undeniable “cap” advantage in the playoffs, my beef is not out of jealousy. IMO, the justification for a cap during the regular season is just as valid in the playoffs.

      • LJ,
        I should have been more clear.

        TBL were seen as being in cap hell, were seen as having an anchor contract in Johnson, were seen as having to choose between Killorn, Cirelli and Cernak.

        TBL breezed through, dumping excess in return for LTIR from Ottawa.

        Point is that BriseBois brilliantly has been doing his job.

        I would believe that the beef over TBL being over the cap isn’t jealousy if the Blues at $90 million or the Islanders at $88 million raised eyebrows.

        Just for S&G if there would be a Stanley Cup final between NYI and MC would there be a buzz about the cap disparity between the two?

        Is there any outcry over NYI using Johnny Boychuk, who hasn’t played a game to get an extra $6 million of players? Nope

        In short the rules exist for all and many teams use the LTIR to different extents, legally.

        If “jealousy” is offensive I’ll be nice, envy, mild resentment 🙂

      • I didn’t take offense habsfan30.

        And yes, Brisbois has been very clever in his roster management. It will be interesting to see what happens next year when he doesn’t have Kucherov’s LTIR help for the coming season.

  4. I’ve always wondered how Tampa Bay can be a team that spends to the cap. They (and Florida) seem to be among the teams that struggle to put fans in the seats. Are the owners willing to take losses every year, does the league have an equalization plan, how do they do it?

    • Hi BCF

      Ur bang on re Panthers and attendance; but Bolts have no issues

      Setting aside this year; last season the league had… Bolts were 5th in average of attendance @ just under 19,000 per game; beaten only by Hawks, Stars, Habs, Leafs (Source: ESPN: http://www.espn.com/nhl/attendance/_/year/2020 )

      Panthers that year, at avg 14.1 K, were 3rd last ( only ahead of Sens and Isles)

      The last full season… 18/19…. Bolts had 170 more per game (than 19/20) and were 6th (Detroit was 5th, averaging 28 more people per game).

      Panthers were 2nd last that year, beating only Isles

      So $’s not really an issue to Bolts relative to many teams

      • Pengy I should’ve known you would’ve covered this before I corrected him. Lol

      • Hi ShaneinTpa

        For several years during March break we’d rent a home in one of the communities near Orlando for a couple of weeks …. we’d take the kids to the parks and have a blast. We’d also always catch a game or 2 of the bolts. We usually stayed in Davenport , so the arena was only just shy of an hour away (I’m a lead foot BTW)

        Great venue, always great game.Often we tried to be there for a Leafs tilt (Fam is Leafs fans only; I’m the only dual Leafs/Pens fan in my fam)

        That’s how I knew that Bolts had great attendance

        I had to look the info up just to have backing to what I believed to be true


    • OK I have to correct in this one Tampa Bay has been sold out for years. I am a full season-ticket member since 1995

  5. Habfan well duh of course people have a problem with a team being miles over the cap. I’m not sure how many will watch the final 4 games but I definitely will watch a Tampa -Vegas final.

  6. Lightning didn’t cheat the system, the system is flawed …

    Brisebois is a savvy GM who took a really good team and made it into a great one … built for the regular season and the playoffs and they can play it anyway you want to, skill or heavy … plus having the right head coach … they are the blueprint …

    • This is so dumb sorry. Anyone claiming Brisebois is a genius and deserves all TB success needs to tell me how was GM before him and what did that guy do that makes you claim Brisebois is the architect to this team success after 2 years on the job.

      • Ron: BriseBois was Yzerman’s assistant GM from 2010 to 2018. In that role, he was GM of their AHL affiliate. He also assisted in all aspect of player personnel decisions, development, analytics and navigating the CBA. He hired Jon Cooper as head coach of their AHL affiliate. Their AHL club won two Calder Cups under his management. He had a hand in drafting and developing most of the players on the current Lightning roster that came up through their system. Those include Kucherov, Palat, Vasilevskiy, Point, and Cirelli.

      • Since you ask I will tell you he was the assistant to Stevie Y for the entire time Yzerman was there. Brisebois Was and remains in charge of cap management.

    • Well said !!

      • No kidding. Talk about putting one’s mouth (or fingers in this case) in gear before thinking.

  7. simple solution to resolve the Lightning faux-cap situation:

    players need to play in at least 1 regular season game in order to qualify for the playoffs

    the would have made the Lightning need to clear cap space by the trade deadline

    • Gee, doc, I feel waaay better than I did just a day ago. So shall we move my return up by a day? Just a day, mind, we wouldn’t want to game the system.

      • i get what your saying, but for players with big contracts, considering that you can only stash up to $950k of a contract in the AHL, the GMs would have to be more pro-active is ensuring their team is cap compliant at the deadline, which is well before the end of the season.

  8. Gentlemen, you have made a lot of good and interesting points on the subject of postseason salary cap. I have never been one who doesn’t believe the system should be revisited. But, lost in all of this is the fact that the salary cap originally came in to play in an effort to bring parity to the league and essentially saved many Franchises from failure. The idea as much as anything was to induce Teams to draft and develop their own players. Tampa Bay is the poster child for that blueprint.

    And really, we wouldn’t be talking about this if the cap had increased to the expected $85 million last year with another increase this coming year. Essentially, had that happened I have no doubt Tampa would’ve had no problem giving Johnson away through waivers and the cap increase would’ve taken care of the rest of the problem.

    Tampa drafted and developed the vast majority of its roster including it biggest stars. I could better understand the bitterness and complaining about their ‘post season cap circumvention’ if they attempted the short cut to success through free agency. Pat Maroon is the only skater on this roster who was signed as a free agent off another team’s roster.

    • Shane, were it not a rainy Sunday I would not respond but to be clear, if the Bolts win again (as I think they will) they will deserve it.

      The Bolts won last year by learning from previous playoff losses (Leafs: pay attention). They drafted very well (Vasilevski, Point at # 74!!), and took the Habs to the cleaners in acquiring Sergachev and the Rangers to the cleaners for McDonagh.

      Even if they had to fit their line up into a regular season cap they would be formidable, so don’t confuse frustration about a dodgy rule with bitterness about a well constructed team. At least not from me.

      • LJ make no mistake, the bitterness I reference is coming from places outside of this forum. You have read it and heard it I am sure as much as I have. Your points are well taken